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Correcting the record in Tusten

November 1, 2012

Some postcards mailed recently to Tusten residents contain erroneous information about the Green Jobs-Green New York program through which New York State residents can obtain home audits and low-interest loans to make energy-conserving upgrades to their homes. The program is administered by NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Fact: The program does not use taxpayer money. The funds for Green Jobs-Green NY come from auctions of carbon credits to utilities (specifically, electricity generators) who are not meeting their agreed-upon targets for greenhouse gas reductions. Auction proceeds are collected by RGGI, the four-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative of which New York State is part, and the New York State Public Service Commission uses some of this money to create the Green Jobs-Green NY revolving loan fund. The fund is supplemented by the Systems Benefit Charge (SBC), a surcharge on energy usage that we all pay on our electricity bills. The SBC rate varies. In September 2012, it was .00375 cents per kilowatt hour. We can all reduce our share of this charge by using less power. Green Jobs-Green NY helps residents do that by making their homes more energy efficient. That’s a win-win!

Fact: The funding mechanism for the retrofits is a low-interest loan, up to $25,000, that is repaid in full by the homeowner. There are no income limits—anyone can participate. Loans can be repaid on the resident’s monthly electric bill, or in a separate payment plan. The program guarantees that the monthly loan payment will always be less than the average monthly savings achieved through the energy retrofits. Win-win!

Fact: Any expenditure above the $25,000 loan cap is paid out-of-pocket by the homeowner. NYSERDA representatives confirmed this week that the average loan is $10,000 to $15,000. The work is performed by certified local contractors; the program has generated thousands of dollars of work to Sullivan County contractors and created jobs in Sullivan County. Win-win!

Green Jobs-Green NY is a marvelous way for homeowners to reduce their energy bills and make their homes safer and more comfortable, all the while generating local economic activity.

Sullivan County residents can contact NYSERDA’s regional coordinator for the program, Michael D’Arcy, at mdarcy@rupco.org or by calling 845/331-2140.

Have a sustainable day!

Carol Roig, Community Outreach
Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development
Monticello, NY